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General Court: Sani v. Hani, llani and Rani

In Case T-523/12, the General Court had to review the following opposition:

Global-Invest Bartosz Turek (Poland)

Rani Refreshments FZCO (United Arab Emirates) –earlier CTM’s

1) and 2)


Classes 29 , 30 and 32

Classes 29, 30 and 32

Both the Opposition Division and Board of Appeal found that the mark applied for and the first and second earlier marks were not visually or conceptually similar and that the marks had a lower than average degree of aural similarity owing to the differences between their first syllables. In view of the relevant public’s average degree of attention and the visual, aural and conceptual differences between the signs in question, there was no likelihood of confusion according to Article 8(1) b) CTMR.

The Opponent appealed before the General Court only criticising the reasoning by which the BoA reached the conclusion that the mark applied for and the earlier trade marks had a lower than average degree of aural similarity and complaining of the error made in the global assessment of the likelihood of confusion as a result of that conclusion. Rani claimed that the Arabic word elements of the two earlier trade marks are not, as a general rule, pronounced in the relevant territory, so the word elements of the signs are similar since they end with the same letter combination ‘ani’, and the first letter of the mark applied for (the letter ‘s’) is not a strong consonant.

However, the GC dismissed the appeal and found that the relevant public will focus on the first syllable of each of the signs which begin with a different letter and the first syllable has a very different sound : ‘lla’, ‘ha’ or ‘ra’ v. ‘sa’. Thus, the aural similarity is weak and the mere fact that there is a certain degree of aural similarity is not sufficient justification, in itself, for a finding that there is a likelihood of confusion for the purposes of Article8(1)(b) of CTMR.

Posted by: Laetitia Lagarde @ 12.28
Tags: General court, likelihood of confusion, rani, hani, llani, rani,
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